Big news from today’s taping of the next generation of Eastern Motors Commercials, at least for those who don’t mind the misuse of “big” and “news”:

Out: Sean Taylor, Carlos Rogers, Brendan Haywood
In: Chief Zee

The new spots, which will feature Skins Jason Campbell, Antwaan Randle El, Santana Moss, and fresh Raven Willis McGahee lip-synching the used car chain’s fabulous jingle and mingling with a $400,000 Lamborghini and equally costly Rolls-Royce, were filmed at a desolate former Hyattsville outlet of the Easterns Automotive Group chain. (For the confused: the car company’s corporate name is Easterns; the dealerships are called Eastern.)

Easterns says Clinton Portis, who took over for LaVar Arrington as the lead lip-syncher last season, is still part of the commercial family, but was out of town and unavailable for the shoot. Anybody suggesting that Portis’s no-show was linked to his fear of being dogged about the Michael Vick situation would surely be barking up the wrong tree.

Chief Zee, the durable Skins mascot best known for the beatdown he took from Philly fans during a Monday Night Football game at Veterans Stadium, was brought in instead of another active Redskin after Easterns was told by the marketing arm of the NFL Players Association that it had could not have more than five NFL players under contract without paying a $250,000 licensing fee.

Moss and Randle El danced around while the theme song played as if it was their favorite track. But the Chief, wearing his standard red-velvet-looking ensemble topped off by a feathered headdress that’s gotta come damn close to violating hate-crime statutes, needed cue cards to get through the “Your job’s your credit!” portions of the taping.